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Rush - Moving Pictures CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.40 | 2602 ratings

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Stefano di Sondrio
4 stars (2.75 stars really) Moving Pictures - an album that makes us pine for the golden era... On the occasion of the 30th anniversary release of Moving Pictures, I decided to take the plunge and throw in my tuppence worth by making this my first review on Prog. Archives. After reading all the excellent reviews of this album, I must say, I'm in awe of you guys! (some of you should be - perhaps you are - professional music journalists!). Somewhat daunted as I embark on my maiden review, I feel, however, that I do have the credentials. I've been a Rush fan since I was 13 years old - that was way back in '77. I was fortunate enough to see the band live on their Moving Pictures world tour in '81. For me Rush constitute just about the most outrageously talented, intelligent and creative trio in rock history. How can three men - no backing musicians on stage - produce such a phenomenal sound? Yes ! I love Rush! Then why am I giving this much-vaunted, highly-critically-acclaimed apparent magnum opus such a low rating? Simple. Compare it with what went before. Rather than talk specifically about the album itself, I'd like to illustrate where it falls short in comparison to its predecessors. A good album, no doubt (Tom Sawyer and YYZ - best played live in concert - being the standout tracks for me) but it is not on the same planet, nor even in the same star system as 2112, A Farewell To Kings and Hemispheres. A personal favourite of mine, the rugged and raw, yet paradoxically creatively-sublime Caress of Steel, the eponymous Rush and Fly By Night, I would also rate more highly. Moving Pictures is a fine transitional album (the transition begun with Permanent Waves) and most enjoyable when played VERY loudly . Unfortunately, I find it, at times, repetitive, unimaginative and in certain parts rather dull and irritating. Other reviewers were spot on in suggesting that listening to parts of this album is something of a "chore" we Rush fans feel obliged to undertake. The best way to truly perceive the gap between what we hear on Moving Pictures and on previous albums in terms of musical and lyrical creativity and originality is to listen to one track from Moving Pictures, for example Limelight, then listen immediately to a track from, let's say, A Farewell To Kings, Xanadu, perhaps, and ask yourself....are these songs really in the same league? Try another about one of the 'fans' favorite', Red Barchetta (with its bizarrely contrived lyrics - "..Drive like the wind, straining the limits of machine and man. Laughing out loud with fear and hope, I've got a desperate plan.") and Closer to the Heart (short, rather simple yet brilliantly-penned - "The blacksmith and the artist reflect it in their art, they forge their creativity... Philosophers and ploughmen, each will know his part, to sow a new mentality, closer to the heart." - now this is Peart at his lyrical best!). Then, how about Tom Sawyer Vs 2112 Overture? Now which of these REALLY rocks? YYZ and La Villa Strangiato anyone? Give me the latter. For sheer complexity, relentless energy and truly creative musicianship La Villa Strangiato wins hands down in my opinion and deserves the accolade of best Rush instrumental. I guess I could go on... Moving Pictures is clearly a metaphor for a change of scenery, a 'new' direction. At the concert back in '81, the band played before a huge screen (rather uncommon at that time) showing removal men replacing the art exhibits in a museum - Rush were moving in an artistically 'new' direction and making it (painfully?) clear to their fans. Most fans were carried along, perhaps even unaware that the band was entering a completely new phase... I, and many more fans perservered in the (forlorn?) hope that the magic would return. I give credit to the band for reinventing themselves, as they have continued to do so until this day, which accounts for their enduring success and longevity. But whenever you go to see the band in concert, it's By-Tor, Cygnus, 2112, Xanadu and the great songs from the golden era that give the fans - and the band members themselves - the greatest joy. Go see them (or watch R-30 ) and just look at their faces if you don't believe me...
Stefano di Sondrio | 4/5 |


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